Recently, wife and I, sat down to watch the horror film IT: Chapter 1. The series has been getting some hype in our workplaces/social circles, because of the recent Chapter 2 release, and we wanted “in”. We’re not really horror-film-people. We’re easily scared, and both have over-active imaginations. (As far as I go is with Rick Grimes to Alexandria!) So when we want an adrenaline pumping film we’ll usually opt for an Action, occasionally dipping our toes into physiological/thriller types.
But, like I said, we wanted “in”. So, after a pep-talk, a bit of a pre-game-psyche dance and the gathering of many pillows – we were ready.
The film wasn’t as bad as we thought beforehand. She looked away at most of the violent scenes, and I found myself mostly numb (probably due to my exposure to The Walking Dead) towards the blood and gore. (I must admit, however, running along the canals the morning after – in the dark – was a little chilling, and I did look behind me a fair few times)…
The scariest scene for me was right at the beginning and the boy’s talking to the clown in the gutter and they’re both laughing. And suddenly the clown man stops laughing and just grimaces. That had pins and needles rushing through my body.
But, it’s been over a week since watching the film and I’m still thinking about it. The film had some pretty profound insights about Fear and the concept. I don’t think this is the type of film that spoilers can ruin, you’re still going to jump if you’ve never seen it before, so I don’t think this reveals anything about the plot.
The power of (the absence of) names.
In this film, at the beginning we’re introduced to the clown (in the gutter), who tells the boy his name… “Pennywise”. But I think this is the only time in the film the clown is spoken about by name. The rest of the film, he is referred to as: It. (Hence the title).
This reminded me of a Harry Potter quote:
“Fear of the name, only increases fear of the thing itself”.
By not giving the clown a name throughout the film, and by calling him: It, fear is increased.
I think this is significant because fear is weakened when we bring it into the light, and an important part of that is naming it. Sometimes by just saying out loud what we fear to happen, we can glimpse just how ridiculous it is.
The power of togetherness.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the clown initially only attacks when the children are on their own, nor is it coincidental that when they courageously fight the clown, they are together. Fears seem to lose their power when we face them together. One of my favourite scenes is where they are outside a scary house and one of the boys pep-talks them into going in.
Here’s an interesting cliché that I heard about “Encouragement”. The word can be broken down someway so that it sounds like ‘giving-courage’ to someone. We can take steps to be encouraged by others and to encourage others.
Fear usually isn’t as bad as we think it is when we face it.
I guess this relates somewhat to the first point, but when we face fear it usually ends up being not that bad. When I was watching the scene, I cheered whenever the characters would fight back the clown. I didn’t want them to stop. Maybe it’s because I’m used to simple action films where the good guy, just fights the bad guy and it’s over. But part of me, all the way through, just wanted the kids to burst into all the rooms, growling and fighting and deal with the problem.
I wonder if that’s how God feels for us?
Hope this is en-couraging!
Here’s an extra question I’ve been thinking about with some bullet point ideas:
Is fear ever a good/healthy thing?
- For example fear of heights teaches us that to fall will be bad for our health, therefore don’t tight-rope walk without a harness.
- Or is this kind of fear just common sense?
- Could an alternative to this “healthy-fear” (e.g. common sense, trusting others advice, trusting self) be more beneficial than using fear?
- Does God’s perfect love drive out “healthy/normal-fear”?
- Can our “fear” be (a form of weakness and therefore) a magnifying glass to display God’s strength? (2 Cor 12). Or not?
Bible Stories about fear:
Giants in the Land – Numbers 13-14
Joshua’s Commission – Joshua 1
Esther before the King – Esther 4
Annanias finding Saul/Paul – Acts 9